May 11, 2006 — The Virginia Quarterly Review captured two awards – one for General Excellence and another for Fiction – at the 41st National Magazine Awards ceremony held on Tuesday, May 9 in New York City.
The General Excellence award was for magazines with a circulation of less than 100,000. Overall, VQR was nominated six times in four categories, an unprecedented number of nominations for a magazine with a full-time staff of four and a circulation of less than 7,000. VQR joined Time, Esquire, Harper's, Rolling Stone, New York and the New Yorker in winning two awards at this year’s ceremony.
"We're pleased," VQR's editor, Ted Genoways, said after the event. "We're still trying to soak it all in."
The National Magazine Awards (known as “The Ellies”), the magazine industry’s highest honor, are sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors in association with the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University and honor editorial excellence.
By taking top honors in the General Excellence category, VQR was noted for the overall effectiveness of its writing, reporting, editing and design.
In the award citation, the judges stated: “At a time when magazines are rushing to embrace the digital age, Virginia Quarterly Review reimagines and reenergizes that old-world form – the literary journal. Crisply designed, smartly written, full of not just fiction and poetry but also topical reportage and memorable essays, VQR sets the bar extremely high — and clears it time and again.”
In winning the Fiction award, VQR (which was nominated twice in the category) edged out The Atlantic Monthly, McSweeney’s and Zoetrope: All-Story. VQR received the Fiction award for stories written by contributors Joyce Carol Oates, R. T. Smith and Alan Heathcock. The judges’ citation praised VQR as a magazine that “marries the traditions of American short story writing with innovative narrative to create three explorations of moral ambiguity.”
The Virginia Quarterly Review has been based at the University of Virginia since the magazine’s founding in 1925. Over the years it has published the work of such luminaries as H. L. Mencken, Bertrand Russell, Katherine Anne Porter, Peter Taylor, Robert Penn Warren and Marianne Moore. Recent issues have featured essays, stories, poems and art by Gabriel Garcia Marques, Rita Dove, Cormac McCarthy, Diane Ackerman and Art Spielgelman, among others.
In the past, the awards have been presented at a lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria. But this year, in an effort to draw more publicity to the magazine industry, they were presented on a broad stage at the home of Jazz at Lincoln Center.